When my friend David Rushbrook came to my studio to show me a story he was working on, I was pleasantly intrigued. Then he read “Thoughts of a Golden Fox” aloud and tears rolled down both our cheeks. Now the question. Was I interested in taking on nine to twelve months of work. I was familiar with this timeline since it took me about a year to write and illustrate my first book “Cats and Dogs of Chapel Hill: Furry Tails About Town.”
Tip: Be prepared to spend 8 months to a year on illustrating a book.
He worked steadily writing, rewriting, and editing, as I built each illustration around the characters. Once we decided to start meeting weekly, we were both committed to our book.
Tip: Know that edits are a big part of any project…begin and begin again. Patience is a virtue.
There are many decisions to make when creating a book. Who is your audience; is it a children’s book, picture book or chapter book; will you self-publish or send it off for review; will you produce an e-book, paperback, or hard-cover; how many pages, how many illustrations, how do you get an ISBN, and the list goes on. David and I decided this was a project from the heart, so we took the self-publishing route.
Tip: Do your research!
There are lots of articles out there, and if you plan to go the traditional publishing route you need to familiarize yourself with what kinds of books the publisher offers. And make sure you follow their submission guidelines.
If you go the self-publishing route the more books you print, the lower your price-per-book costs. Figure out your budget and realize that if you plan to sell to bookstores they will take 50%.
It’s been a joy working with David as our style complemented each other, and when one of us was stuck, frustrated, or tired, the other would pitch in with gentle reassurance. There is a learning curve with self-publishing as with all worthwhile projects.
Tip: Get some rest! No good can come when you are tired and cranky. Call it a day. Relax. Start fresh.
Now we are in the marketing and selling mode (see link below, wink). Our website is up and running, and we have our first reading event scheduled at the Honeysuckle Teahouse here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We are discussing doing tote bags with our star fox and I dream of doing a plush Golden Fox.
Tip: Marketing is a big commitment. Accept that the time you spend marketing will not render 100% exchange. Use your social network and ask your community to share. Word of mouth is often your best friend.
Thoughts of having a major publisher pick up the book lurk in my imagination. Mostly we want to book to touch and delight readers of all ages.
Tip: Know what your needs are. Is your project a work from the heart, or do you need to pay your electric bill? Somewhere there is a balance.
Thoughts of a Golden Fox, written by Charles David Rushbrook and illustrated by Beverly Dyer, is a delightful book for children and those who are children at heart. The story is told from the viewpoint of a mother Golden Fox, which, according to the book’s short and gentle-hearted Glossary, is “…a magical, and rarely seen, species of fox with unbelievably beautiful golden coats. They are noted for their kindness, gentleness and desire for peace among all living beings.” The book has chapters entitled “Colors of a Golden Fox; Autumn; Kits; Light of the Moon; Being Born; Worries; Happiness; Spirits; Fox and Human; Mother Nature; Bushy-Tail; Brother Deer; Fondness; Shared Thoughts; and Love.” In the course of the story, the mother fox shares her thoughts and her heart with the reader, in a sweetly innocent and deeply-wise voice. It may be said that the key concept of the book is love, as it is manifested in all of nature and in all beings, and compassion and caring for others, including the environment.
© 2017 Charles David Rushbrook
Thanks Charlie for letting me share my story!